The Curt Brown Chronicles: The Wonder of Words

A 69Kb PDF of this article as it appeared in the magazine—complete with images—is available by clicking HERE

Last month I had the distinct pleasure of writing a guest editorial for the magazine. It reminded me of when Curt began publishing his nascent articles in the ACSM journals. The more things change, the more they remain the same.

In 1957, the California Council of Civil Engineers and Land Surveyors (CCCELS) announced that Curt was writing a manual of instructions for the private practice of land surveying. Sponsored by CCCELS, the organization announced: "It will be intended as a guide to practitioners, setting forth the performance standards that will be accepted by the profession."

Buoyed by the success of his published works, Curt began traveling on the lecture circuit where he delivered an assortment of presentations to surveying organizations across the country. Typical of his efforts was a 1961 presentation at the Ninth Annual Convention of the CCCELS held in Sacramento. The program, entitled "Best Available Evidence," was well received.

In 1962, Curt and another ACSM associate, Winfield H. Eldridge, wrote another book, soon to become a staple in every surveyor’s library. Published by John Wiley & Sons, Inc. of New York, Evidence And Procedures For Boundary Location was 484 pages and had an immediate impact on the surveying profession. The illustrated book sold for $9.75. According to the late Walter S. Dix, writing on behalf of ACSM:

"To those who have read Curtis Brown’s Boundary Control and Legal Principles, this is the work they have been waiting for. Those who know Curtis Brown and Winfield Eldridge personally or by reputation will buy the book on merit.
Close to 500 pages, the work is a plainly stated and cryptic assembly of facts, rules, advice, and the wisdom of experience that belongs in any library of a professional surveyor with interest in legal boundary or property line surveying.
One could elaborate on its 17 chapters, but the words `Evidence’ and `Boundary Location’ of the book’s title should be enough to describe its contents. Besides the typical law and its pertaining precedent, Chapter 8 on `Measurements, Errors, and Computation’ Chapter 15 on `Writing Descriptions,’ Chapter 16 on `The Surveyor in Court,’ and last but not least, Chapter 17 `Professional Stature,’ not much else should be needed to recommend the book to every serious land surveyor in the United States. In my opinion, this book will be a college textbook."

Eldridge was born on July 2, 1922 at Mt. Holly, New Jersey. He served with the U. S. Army in the Topographic Mapping Battalion for three years during World War II. He received a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Illinois in 1958.

Prior to 1954, he was a topographic engineer with the Pacific Region of the U. S. Geological Surveys for six years. He also worked for many years with various public and private surveying companies in construction, property surveys, and forestry mapping. At the University of Illinois, Winfield served as an Instructor, Assistant Professor and Associate Professor in the Civil Engineering Department. He taught in various classes along with all phases of engineering surveying including professional courses in Property Surveying. He also managed the Summer Surveying Camp.

In addition to working with Curt, Eldridge was the author of the ACSM publication, Bibliography of Property Surveying Literature. Eldridge was also a member of ASCE, ACSM, ASP, ASEE and the Canadian Institute of Surveying. As with Curt, in recognition of his efforts, ACSM recognized Professor Eldridge for his contributions to the profession in 1963, culminating in the awarding of an association plaque.

Author Michael Pallamary has compiled the writings and lectures of the late Curtis M. Brown. These works are published in The Curt Brown Chronicles.

A 69Kb PDF of this article as it appeared in the magazine—complete with images—is available by clicking HERE